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Everything You Need to Know About Yoshino Cherry Trees

Yoshino cherry trees bloom a fragrant cloud of whitish-pink blossoms earlier in spring than many other cherry varieties.

Yoshino Cherry Trees Adobe

Yoshino cherry trees, or Japanese flowering cherry trees, are a standout at cherry blossom festivals across the world for their almond-scented, whitish pink blossoms that bloom in spring on stunning bare branches. While their small berries are too bitter for people to eat, they attract birds and butterflies to your garden. Yoshino cherry trees grow in a unique, exotic shape and are heat-tolerant.

Yoshino Cherry Trees at a Glance

  • Fragrant, almond-scented whitish-pink flowers in spring
  • One of the first cherry trees to bloom
  • Staple of the National Cherry Blossom Festival and Washington, D.C., Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Attracts birds and butterflies with small dark berries
  • Heat-tolerant
  • Exotic branching pattern and vase-like canopy

Appearance

Yoshino cherry trees have a stunning shape, with a vase-shaped canopy unfurling from an exotic, upright branching pattern and smooth, gray bark. In March and April, Yoshino cherry blossoms bloom for two to three weeks and are one of the first cherry varieties to bloom. Each blossom has five petals that open pale pink and mature into white in clusters of five to six blossoms.

In summer, serrated, ovate, glossy green leaves emerge. In fall, the leaves change to yellow, orange, and red before dropping in winter. Yoshino cherry trees grow to be 30-50 feet tall with a spread of 25-40 feet.

Specifications

Appearance Vase-shaped canopy with oriental branching pattern. Whitish-pink flowers in spring, glossy green serrated leaves in summer that turn yellow, orange, and red in fall
Appearance Vase-shaped canopy with oriental branching pattern. Whitish-pink flowers in spring, glossy green serrated leaves in summer that turn yellow, orange, and red in fall
Height 30-50 feet
Hardiness Zones Zones 5-8
Type of tree Deciduous
Sunlight requirements Full sun to partial shade
Soil composition Highly adaptable, but prefers moist soil

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where plants can grow, based on minimum winter temperatures. Yoshino cherry trees grow in Zones 5-8, from the West Coast to the East Coast, except for the coldest and hottest climates.

Planting

The best times to plant Yoshino cherry trees are spring and fall. We recommend following these steps:

  • Choose an area that receives full sun to partial shade—full sun is preferable.
  • Clear away any debris, turfgrass, or weeds.
  • Dig a hole twice the depth and the same width as your Yoshino cherry root ball, leaving a small mound of dirt in the middle.
  • Spread out the root ball using your hands or a small spade, and place the root ball carefully on the mound. The tip of the root ball should be an inch above the surrounding soil.
  • Backfill the hole with soil ½ of the way, then soak the hole until the water drains away.
  • Fill the rest of the hole with soil.
  • Finish by spreading a 2-3 inch layer of mulch over the roots, being careful not to let it touch the trunk.

Growing Conditions

Yoshino cherry trees must be kept moist but are tolerant of a wide variety of soil types.

Sun and shade

Yoshino cherry trees flourish in full sun, or at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. They can also grow in partial shade, but they will have fewer flowers.

Soil

Yoshino cherry trees’ only true requirement of soil is that it’s moist. They can grow in acidic, moist, sandy, loamy, and clay soils.

Watering

The soil should be consistently moist, especially as your Yoshino cherry tree is getting established and growing its root system. When the top two inches of soil are dry—you can test this by inserting your index finger into the soil—water with a garden hose for roughly 30 minutes. That translates to roughly every two weeks in the summer and every three or so weeks in fall and spring.

Applying a 2-3 inch layer of mulch can help prevent the moisture from evaporating and allow you to space out waterings more. Always be sure to leave a several-inch gap between the mulch and the trunk.

Fertilizing

Your Yoshino cherry tree will not need to be fed for the first two years. After that, you can fertilize with nitrogen each year, with 1/10 of a pound per year of the tree’s age. You can either spread it out into two or four feedings over spring and summer or do the entire application just once in spring.

Pruning

Yoshino cherry trees do not require pruning, but if you see any dead, diseased, or crowded branches, you should prune them when they appear. If you want to prune for aesthetic reasons, early summer is the time—that way, you won’t prune any buds.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast do they grow?

Yoshino cherry trees grow at a rate of roughly 1-2 feet per year.

Do they bear fruit?

Yes, but the fruit is too bitter for people to enjoy. However, it is very appealing to birds, including robins.

How tall do they get?

Yoshino cherry trees can reach a maximum height of 30-50 feet.

How long do they bloom?

Yoshino cherry trees bloom for two to three weeks.

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